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Ireland court refuses to recognize same-sex marriage performed abroad

[JURIST] Ireland's High Court has refused to recognize the same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] of a lesbian couple married in Canada in 2003. Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone sued to force Ireland to recognize their marriage, performed in British Columbia after same-sex marriage was legalized in the province. High Court Justice Elizabeth Dunne rejected the couple's petition Thursday, ruling that the Irish constitution [text] does not permit recognition of such a union. Dunne said that the constitution directed Ireland "to guard with special care the institution of marriage" and said that the parliament should decide whether to amend the constitution to grant legal rights to same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples in long-term relationships. Gilligan and Zappone are considering appealing the decision to Ireland's Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, the Irish Human Rights Commission [official website], a government-appointed advisory body on which Zappone serves, concluded that Ireland may be in breach of international human rights laws [JURIST report] because the country does not recognize same-sex marriages and gives more rights to married couples than to gay couples or unmarried heterosexual couples. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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